Transcript for Anatomy of a Hurricane, segment 04 of 5

The most destructive region of a hurricane extends from the eye wall out through the right semicircle of the storm. Here the forward motion of the hurricane adds speed to the counterclockwise-spinning winds. These high winds combine with the storm's low atmospheric pressure, producing elevated sea level that moves as a lenslike bulge beneath the storm. Hurricanes on the open ocean can produce sixty foot waves and strong currents more than two hundred feet below the surface. These waves and currents are capable of moving large objects and can severely scour the ocean bottom as the hurricane nears land. At landfall the bulge in sea level becomes a life-threatening flood called a storm surge which, depending on the topography, can extend inland many miles, reaching over twenty-five feet above mean sea level.


Waves and currents working with the storm surge deliver a high-energy assault on the coast, destroying homes, uprooting vegetation, and moving entire beaches in just hours.


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